Hiking to the Gergeti Glacier in Kazbegi, Georgia was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done alone!
The idea of my trip to Georgia started mostly because of my desire for hiking to the Gergeti Glacier in Kazbegi. Back then I didn’t know how much I am going to love this wonderful country.
Fast forward, when I was already in Georgia and enjoying my time in Tbilisi, I couldn’t wait for this moment to come.
The day came. I was at the Didube station in Tbilisi and feeling exciting! I didn’t have any idea what was waiting for me and that hiking to the Gergeti Glacier in Kazbegi will turn into one of my most amazing experiences.
The first moment when my heart started to beat faster was when we reached the mountains. God, I was wondering if I am still in Georgia or in heaven? Green and majestic mountains are stretching as far as the eye can see and even beyond!
I arrived in Kazbegi and went to the guest house I had booked. I just wanted to leave my stuff and go out, go see. I have booked a great guest house to stay at! From every window that you can look through, all you can see is mountains.
There, I meet Ivan, a Ukrainian guy. I shared with him my plan, which was to hike to the Gergeti Trinity Church on the same day to see the area. He told me ”for you, it’s not more than 1 hour”, I didn’t even ask him. When I told him that I’m hiking to the Gergeti Glacier on the next day he replied ”for you, it will be 7-8 hours”. I didn’t ask him anything again, but then I got curious and asked him why did he think so? He replied to me that he saw me walking and the big steps I make lol. That was funny. (He turned out right for both, tho!)
However, I did hike to the Gergeti Trinity Church on the same day to see the area. The trail that goes from the village to the church goes through the forest. You can also take the road that jeeps are going through, but through the forest is a short way and perhaps the better one. Be aware that it can be slippery there.
It took me 45 minutes and I was at the church. Beautiful! Also, you can see the whole Stepantsminda from there, snuggled in the surrounding mountains.
One thing was pissing me, though… The clouds! They were all over the peak and I couldn’t see it. Not that the rest was not good enough, it was far more than enough, but still, I wanted to see the Kazbegi peak. I didn’t have any luck with that on this day.
Because I couldn’t just stay like that, I wanted to go up and up, I hiked the next hill and find an awesome spot there. I spent around three hours, maybe, lying on the meadows all over the church and the hill, thinking about my hiking to the Gergeti Glacier on the next day.
The plan was to start my hike at 5:30 AM, so I can be up at the church at 6:30 AM, on time to watch the sunrise from there. I set up my alarm for 4:30 AM and of course, I went to bed at 1:30 AM. Couldn’t get any sleep at all.
At 4:30 AM the alarm rang, I jumped out of the bed. Fuck!! It was raining.
I decided that I would wait for a while and if it doesn’t stop, I will still go. Luckily, it stopped. I started hiking to the Gergeti Glacier in Kazbegi at 5;45 AM. Again, I used the short way through the forest and at 6:45 AM I was up at the church.
I forgot to mention that when I looked through the window of my guesthouse to the peak this morning, it was different, there were clouds but the peak has revealed himself. Amazing view!
When you’re hiking up through the forest, you can see beautiful views behind you and Stepantsminda as well, but you cannot see in front of you.
At 6:45 am I was at the Gergeti Trinity Church. I was the only person there, except for the people who were camping but they were still sleeping.
The sun was slowly rising up and the peak was all shining. I was there alone! It was so magical and I felt it so special. My heart was beating fast, my smile was reaching my ears, I was truly happy!
I enjoyed that moment for a while and then headed up to the Glacier.
Actually, I didn’t have a map or anything but the trail is obvious, so there’s no way to get ”lost”.
I started seeing other people. First a horseman, then other people who were camping and just starting to wake up, but I was still the only one going up. Then, I met a couple of people going down. From where exactly they were going down, I don’t know.
The weather was constantly changing. Sun, clouds, wind, I was hot, I was cold, the usual.
Gorgeous views all around me. Beauty and peace. Happy me!
Up, up, up and I made it to the Glacier.
Actually, I was on the other side of the river before the glacier, because I couldn’t find a spot where to cross it. The bad clouds were all over the peak again, so, unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to see it from there.
At some point, it began to blow, a lot.
That was the moment when I said goodbye to the Gergeti Glacier and headed back. When I was almost at the spot from yesterday, I started to feel how sore my legs are. I got to the same spot that I found on the previous day, laid there, and stayed there, lying for one hour or so and rest. Then, I get down to the village and went for lunch. Khachapuri and a cold Georgian beer after hiking to the Gergeti Glacier, yes, please. Pleasure!
Practical tips for hiking to the Gergeti Glacier in Kazbegi (What you’ll need)
Comfortable, hiking shoes are an absolute must.
Water – There is a fountain at the church. This is the last place where you can find water on the way to the Gergeti Glacier. You will cross a river a few times, however.
Food for energy – bananas, nuts, energy bars, sandwiches, etc.
Windproof jacket, hat, and gloves, for any case.
Duration: 7 – 9 hours, depending on your hiking level. You will need about 4-5 hours to get there and about 2-3 hours to return.
Difficulty: I would say normal to medium. The path is not difficult at all but it’s very exhausting.
How to get to Kazbegi
The most convenient way to get to Kazbegi is to get a marshrutka from Tbilisi. Marshrutka is departing when they are full almost throughout the whole day from the Didube bus station. You can get there by using the subway. The subway stop that you need to get off at is also called Didube. As soon as you leave the subway, you’ll be at the station.
You don’t need to look for marshrutka, the marshrutka will find you. I’m serious here, the drivers will approach you asking you where you’re going and if they are not going in the direction they do, they will at least point you where are the ones going to your destination.
The marshrutka journey takes 3 hours and costs 10 Lari (3.50 euro).
If you’re a group, you can consider getting a taxi. They charge around 100+ Lari but you will have the opportunity to stop wherever you want to, and there are places that you would like to stop by, such as Ananuri Fortress and the Jvari pass.
Where to stay in Kazbegi
There are a few options for accommodation in Kazbegi.
As I already mentioned, the guest house that I stayed at was awesome!
I stayed at Anano Guest House for two nights. The guest house is very nice. Wonderful views from every window you look through, calm. The owners are lovely people as well and it’s just 2-3 minutes walk from the ”bus stop”.
The price? It costs about 10 Lari (3.50 euro) per night!
I ended up paying 80 Lari (which was still not expensive) for two nights, but that was because it turned out that I have book a room that is for 4 people, all for myself. They don’t have rooms, such as dorms, have this in mind.
So, are you ready for hiking to the Gergeti Glacier in Kazbegi? I can’t wait to go back one day and hike even higher than that.
READ MORE ABOUT GEORGIA:
- Paragliding in Gudauri
- Why do you need to travel to Georgia in 2018
- Cool & Fun Things to do in Tbilisi
- Where to stay in Georgia for every budget
Thanks for reading,
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